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The NSA and Snowden: Securing the All-Seeing Eye

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the what-you-intend-to-practice dept.

Government 97

First time accepted submitter ChelleChelle2 (2908449) writes "Edward Snowden's release of classified material exposing the existence of numerous global surveillance programs (obtained while working as an NSA contractor at Booz Allen Hamilton) has been referred to as 'the most damaging breach of secrets in U.S. history.' Regardless of whether one choses to champion or condemn Snowden's actions, it is apparent that the NSA needs to dramatically rework its security measures. In this article Bob Toxen, renown author of several books and articles on Linux Security, discusses the security practices that could have stopped Snowden. Equally interesting, he weighs in on the constitutionality and morality of the NSA's spying on all Americans."

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That's only what we know yet (4, Insightful)

Hamsterdan (815291) | about 4 months ago | (#46964953)

With all the leaks, corruption scandals (quite a show here in Montreal), and all the law-breaking from those agencies and governments, I wish there were more like Snowden. That's only the tip of the iceberg boys & girls,

Re:That's only what we know yet (3, Insightful)

loony (37622) | about 4 months ago | (#46965349)

Its too easy for people to trust the government. They promise to take care of you, keep you safe and fed and all the other things. Its easier to trust them than to have a mind on your own, to have to think, plan, and work. It usually all goes well for a while until corruption creeps in and politicians think they know better than you how you should live your life...

The US had an amazing run and I wish I could somehow know what future generations will define as the point in time where the US government turned sour. The current NSA affair? What about the creating of a for-profit, private bank that's put in charge of ruining the dollar value? I'm sure some racists will point to the 13th amendment but I bet 9/11 would be a much more likely choice. Maybe the Nixon years with Watergate and the removal of the gold standard? Oh so many choices... I personally pick the day the southern states seceded. While the North was right and slavery had to go, I still can't find a legal reason that prohibited the South to withdraw from the United States...


Shay's Rebellion (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46965793)

Sure it was during the ORIGINAL Confederacy, but it WAS post-Revolution. What did it teach us? The people in charge will shit all over the veterans even if they just busted their ass to set you free. Combine that with the Whiskey Rebellion and this country was sunk before it even got started.

But it's not like they bother to teach those little tidbits to gradeschool classes, where the less conditioned children might ask 'How is that any different than what the revolution set out to resolve?' or perhaps 'This sounds just like that children's book about the farm of animals!' :)

Re:Shay's Rebellion (2)

StevenMaurer (115071) | about 4 months ago | (#46968371)

Um, no. The Whiskey Rebellion had nothing to do with "shitting on veterans". Veterans rallied around George Washington to put down the rebels.

George Washington was a millionaire at the time because he owned some extremely popular Whiskey distilleries, so when he imposed the first taxes of the nation (largely to pay our war debts), the first thing he did was put on a tax that hit himself hardest. This was considered fair. Even in those days, it was well known that alcohol came with severe social consequences, so this Sin Tax was generally accepted as the best way to raise national funds.

So what drove the Whiskey Rebellion? Largely it was early Borderlander (Scott/Irish) culture, one of the american nations [] , which simply wanted all the benefits of living the United States without having to pay a dime for its upkeep. This attitude, by the way, still completely dominates in these regions 200 years later, driving much of our politics: right wingers who pretend to "speak for the veterans" while at the same time refusing to pay for their benefits. Clyde Bundy is a poster child for borderlander culture

Thinking about it, I suppose you could say that "shitting on veterans" was the point of the revolution - it was just the rebels who were trying to do the shitting.

Re:That's only what we know yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46966057)

The sour started way way back with the birth of the federal reserve.

Re:That's only what we know yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46966949)

The problem isn't just politicians thinking they know better than you how you should live your life.

It's politicians abusing their position of power to make themselves, and their old-boys-club members, filthy rich at your expense.

Anyone who believes that the NSA spying serves primarily to protect us, and is not abused to give economic advantages to specific well-connected rich old-boys-club members, is being injuriously naive.

Re:That's only what we know yet (1)

Sabriel (134364) | about 4 months ago | (#46971117)

Why would you need to be a racist to point at the 13th amendment? It doesn't forbid slavery, it monopolises it. The 13th says the government can enslave anyone convicted of a crime, and it's not a coincidence that the US has a ludicrously high incarceration rate and a for-profit prison industry.

Re:That's only what we know yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46974259)

I personally pick the day the southern states seceded. While the North was right and slavery had to go, I still can't find a legal reason that prohibited the South to withdraw from the United States...

There was no legal reason the South could not withdraw from the United States. Everybody knew perfectly well that, at the time the Constitution was approved, in practice the approval was conditional and it was neither politically nor militarily feasible to force a state to stay in the Union.

However, the issue of the right to withdraw is complicated by the fact that there were many human beings in the South who had a right to protection from the federal government under the Bill of Rights.

Recall that Madison's original text of the Bill of Rights (look it up) specifically limited not just the federal government, but also the state governments. The often heard claim that the Bill of Rights did not apply to the states prior to the 14th Amendment is a myth. In the final version, only the 1st and 7th Amendments specifically limited the federal government, the others were left open to application at both the federal and state level.

Recall also that the Bill of Rights was written to be open-ended ("rights retained to the people", 9th Amendment) in response to the assertion by the Anti-Federalists that any Bill of Rights would be incomplete.

Hence, the US federal government of 1861 had the legal authority (and responsibility) to act on the behalf of the large body of people who had many rights arising under the 9th Amendment that were being violated in the Southern states, namely the slaves.

If the South wanted to withdraw, it would have had to free the slaves, and give them the opportunity to leave, to avoid the responsibility of the federal government to uphold the Bill of Rights. The failure to do this was the critical mistake made by the South.

To be practical, this would have probably involved compensating the slave owners. Ironically, that was proposed by Gouverneur Morris during his famous anti-slavery speech at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, the better part of a century before the Civil War.

In short, the conclusion is that a right to secede exists, but the actual process of seceding has to be handled carefully to make sure that it is fair to everyone living in the region wishing to secede (and sometimes those outside).

Re:That's only what we know yet (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 4 months ago | (#46965505)

Which is why I think doing anything to help the NSA/GCHQ is immoral.

Amoral (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46966181)

I suppose it would be more accurate to sat they are amoral, but the results are the same.

Re:That's only what we know yet (1)

SpzToid (869795) | about 4 months ago | (#46966607)

Montreal is scandalous? Who knew? All I ever hear about from Canada these days is how the Toronto mayor manages to surpass a former Washington DC mayor for being able to overcome his disabilities.

Re:That's only what we know yet (1)

s.petry (762400) | about 4 months ago | (#46966955)

All I ever hear ah-boot from Canada these days is how the Crack Smokin Mayor manages to surpass a former Washington DC mayor for being able to overcome his disabilities. Eh!

FTFY! Living in Detroit made me fluent in Canadian!!

Re:That's only what we know yet (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 4 months ago | (#46968249)

It would be, but Canada's press is terrible, as CSIS and CSEC are both taking it up the ass from the NSA and CIA, in order to give them whatever they want.

Re:That's only what we know yet (2)

gweihir (88907) | about 4 months ago | (#46966657)

People seem to have entirely forgotten the last few catastrophes, like the 3rd Reich, the USSR, etc. But then, people are stupid and usually deserve all the pain they help bring their way.

Re:That's only what we know yet (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 4 months ago | (#46967057)

And with that security measures, they could happily anounce and promise that they will be well behaved, stop spying and so on, and keep doing the same or even far worse things. What stops you from lying if you won't get caught anyway?

Re:That's only what we know yet (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 4 months ago | (#46983395)

There are plenty like him:
1) John Walker
2) Vidkum Quisling
3) Aldrich Ames
4) Philby, Donald Maclean and Guy Burgess
5) William Joyce
6) Marcus Brutus
7) and Judas

There are plenty like him.

Had he stayed on track about the spying on just America, or even just the west, he would ONLY be a hero. Now, he is both hero and traitor, just like many of the above.

Bad logic (0)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 4 months ago | (#46964959)

Regardless of whether one choses to champion or condemn Snowden's actions, it is apparent that the NSA needs to dramatically rework its security measures.

No, their lax security measures are achieving exactly the right results for our democracy at the moment. I am completely against them reworking them, unless you mean subjecting them all to potential veto by a select group of thoughtful small-government patriots.

Re:Bad logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46964989)

And you are exactly, who?

Re:Bad logic (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46965035)

He's just another one of those damn Republicans that don't give a damn about the Internet or privacy.

Re:Bad logic (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46965277)

He's a T-bagger obviously.

Re:Bad logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46965041)

Except there is also the fact that some of the NSA's main goals, despite its draconian and probably unconstitutional methods, are still counterterrorism and counterintelligence. When a friend or family member is killed in a terrorist attack because the NSA's security wasn't adequate you can be proud you encouraged it.

Re:Bad logic (3, Insightful)

ThatAblaze (1723456) | about 4 months ago | (#46965079)

That's like saying when aliens attack you'll be glad you bought UFO insurance. Just because you can imagine a scenario does not make it likely. I have seen no compelling evidence that terrorism is a battle worth giving up my privacy and freedom for.

Re:Bad logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46965125)

Yes, that's exactly what it's like if aliens had already attacked the earth thousands of times already. Your analogy is absurd.

And clearly you didn't actually want to read my post, just make your horrible analogy (been thinking that one up for a while or just a spontaneous fit of stupidity?) but I don't agree with the NSA's methods at all. Still doesn't mean I think they shouldn't fix their security for the sake of the useful work they do (and if you don't think they do *anything* useful you are even more of a conspiracy theory whack job than your post suggests).

Re:Bad logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46965295)

Too right, I'm outraged.,br> What if my wife or daughter slipped and fell in the bath.
I demand the government place an agent in every bathroom. It's happened before, It will happen again. To do nothing would be to let the wet floors win.

Re:Bad logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46965297)

Yes, that's exactly what it's like if aliens had already attacked the earth thousands of times already.

The U.S. has been attacked by terrorists thousands of times? Really? Huh. Wonder where I've been, I seem to have missed all that. And quoting your previous blithering idiocy...

When a friend or family member is killed in a terrorist attack

You know what's interesting about those of you who keep trotting out this kind of BS? You completely ignore that, for instance, more people are killed in automobile accidents every year in the U.S., by a large margin, than have been killed in terrorist attacks in the entire history of the nation. Being so worried about the safety of your friends and family I'm sure you never let them get in a car, right?

Of course you do. Even you aren't that stupid. But you'll trot out that terrorism boogey-man every time... guess it's better than admitting that you have no actual idea what you're talking about.

Someday maybe you'll grow up and get a clue, but right now you're so far up your own ass you couldn't find your way out with a map and a flashlight. It's really a shame so many people seem to share your affliction.

More people were killed in 2.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46965803)

US inflicted acts of terrorism than have been lost in all US domestic terrorist attacks combined.

Food for thought.

Re:Bad logic (1)

BiIl_the_Engineer (3618863) | about 4 months ago | (#46965333)

Risking death to have freedom is more than worth it. Even if the NSA is effective, it should've thought of that before violating the highest law of the land and everyone's fundamental liberties; then they could've carried on with their actual goals.

Re:Bad logic (3, Insightful)

cffrost (885375) | about 4 months ago | (#46966083)

Except there is also the fact that some of the NSA's main goals, despite its draconian and probably unconstitutional methods, are still counterterrorism and counterintelligence. When a friend or family member is killed in a terrorist attack because the NSA's security wasn't adequate you can be proud you encouraged it.

The NSA's mass-surveillance techniques have not been proven effective for counter-terrorism, nor do those techniques represent a cost-effective method of lowering the overall US death rate, nor are they worth (in my opinion) the egregious violation of our Constitutional rights.

I believe that a cursory glance at global affairs — in particular, which entities commit terror attacks upon which nations; the attackers' motives; and attacked nations' foreign policies — suggest that the most effective counter-terrorism results come from not interfering in the sovereignty or affairs of foreign governments, and not violating the human/civil rights of foreign and domestic populaces.

Were a friend or family member killed in a terror attack, I'd be upset they died even though their Constitutional rights were being violated, and I'd be upset that they likely died as a result of blowback from unilateral US action abroad intended to increase or maintain the power and wealth of US oligarchs, likely in violation of international law. If mass-surveillance were ended and a friend or family member were killed in a terror attack, I would take solace in death(s) as free people.

Re:Bad logic (1)

Blue Stone (582566) | about 4 months ago | (#46967839)

I have no more mod points, but would like to say that this entirely, and eloquently, sums up my views on this matter. Well said.

Re:Bad logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46968041)

Your stupid. Yes people like you seem to think that the NSA can only stop terrorists stupid enough to call their friends on the phone and discuss some terrorist plot. However you are wrong and ill informed! You see with new quantum technology the NSA is now capable of listening in on phone calls that never took place, they can read a text message that was never sent and they can download info from a computer that was never entered. I would explain it to you but it is just too complicated. It has to do with a cat that is both dead and alive at the same time. ;)

Re:Bad logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46977037)

This just in: In the REAL world, I am far more likely to be harassed, oppressed, muzzled, audited, or killed by my own government than I am by any terrorists, even the ordinary bloodthirsty Mohammedan variety. Don't try to tell me that the terrorists are a bigger threat than a Gestapo with powers and capabilities that Hitler and Stalin wished they had...

Re:Bad logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46966523)

Except there is also the fact that some of the NSA's main goals, despite its draconian and probably unconstitutional methods, are still counterterrorism and counterintelligence. When a friend or family member is killed in a terrorist attack because the NSA's security wasn't adequate you can be proud you encouraged it.

Fuck you and your fear mongering.

If you were in front of me now I'd bitch slap you into the next time zone, motherfucker.

Re:Bad logic (on logic) (1)

Nehmo (757404) | about 4 months ago | (#46967461)

Except there is also the fact that some of the NSA's main goals, despite its draconian and probably unconstitutional methods, are still counterterrorism and counterintelligence. When a friend or family member is killed in a terrorist attack because the NSA's security wasn't adequate you can be proud you encouraged it.

Whatever the "claimed" goals of government are, its real actions are the things that count, and nowadays, in terms of something resulting from NSA intrusions, an American is more likely to be harmed by her or his own government than harmed by a "terrorist attack". The NSA has not been very successful in citing successes in its protecting of Americans.

If you could guarantee the goals of the NSA were always noble, then I would favor granting them far-reaching authority. But, in reality, the government, and elements of the government such as the NSA in particular, are often not noble; thus, *government authority must be limited*. This is a concept enshrined in The Constitution, and it's also a concept widely accepted by people everywhere the modem civilized world.

Re:Bad logic (1)

ATMAvatar (648864) | about 4 months ago | (#46968939)

A 9/11 event would have to happen twice a week or more to crack the top 5 causes of death in the US. Why is it so important to give up on fundamental freedoms (i.e. the 4th Amendment)? Does it seem more or less important to you after considering that by the NSA's own admission, not a single terrorist has been caught or a citizen's life saved by this surveillance?

Re:Bad logic (1)

BradMajors (995624) | about 4 months ago | (#46965341)

The NSA does not work for us. I don't care about their security.

Re:Bad logic (5, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | about 4 months ago | (#46965979)

In the light let's correct the the heading. Edward Snowden did not cause the 'the most damaging breach of secrets in U.S. history.', he exposed the 'the most damaging breach of secrets in U.S. history.'. Let's be clear on this, it was the NSA that was conducting the illegal breach of secrets of people from all over the globe, no one was safe and no countries laws were respected, not the US not anyones. It was the NSA that was the completely unrepentant criminally insane computer network hacker, hacks not in the hundreds or thousands but very likely in the millions. This had nothing to do with securing anything for the US but everything to do with empowering the insane head of the NSA and his backers in their grab for power. He is now protected status by the secrets he holds, he knows more about the criminal activity of politicians from all over the globe than any other person in US history. As the the puppet president Uncle Tom Obama the choom gang coward, well, he runs nothing and has not done so for years, he just does as he is told to do and smile when he reads his instructions in front of the public on the teleprompter, the puppet prompter, what a way to go no in history, really lame.

Re:Bad logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46967575)

Nice rant.

Re:Bad logic (1)

Nehmo (757404) | about 4 months ago | (#46967673)

In the light let's correct the the heading. Edward Snowden did not cause the 'the most damaging breach of secrets in U.S. history.', he exposed the 'the most damaging breach of secrets in U.S. history.'. ....

Agreed. It's amazing how people mindlessly parrot the government slant.
Pretty much if the government states something, the opposite is true. The "corrections" department does not correct people; it punishes them. The "defense" department is for offense. The Division of Family Services breaks up families. The Patriot Act is unpatriotic. The ones who "serve and protect" really take your money and your freedom. Etc.

Re:Bad logic (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 4 months ago | (#46966711)

Indeed. Best summary so far. The NSA seems to be turning more and more into a GeStaPo. On the plus side, they usually kill people outright (or help to do so), instead of torturing them first. So maybe they are still a bit better than the GeStaPo.

Re:Bad logic (0)

flyneye (84093) | about 4 months ago | (#46965805)

I like to think their fuck ups are what is good for our REPUBLIC.
Democracy is a bad thing, I prefer to accentuate the positive.

Taking a cue from the so called consultant field, I would combine the NSA, CIA and Secret service, fire half of them and make them WORK for a living.
Then I would put the FBI to work at the borders helping to fulfill the Constitutional duty of the Government. Hey, while Im at it, I would put all the other junk agencies on the same detail, but not before firing half of them to begin with, just so the rest appreciate their jobs and get over their pride. THEN, I would cut their wages down to private sector size. WOOHOO, Im on a roll, VOTE for FLY! President FLYNEYE, YAH BAYBEE!

Re:Bad logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46965935)

I like to think their fuck ups are what is good for our REPUBLIC.
Democracy is a bad thing, I prefer to accentuate the positive.

You're an idiot! A republic merely means you don't have a hereditary monarchy, nothing else. I really would like to know, who you think is supposed to make the decisions in your non-democratic republic (and by whom they were legitimised to do so), moron.

Re:Bad logic (1)

flyneye (84093) | about 4 months ago | (#46970551)

Dumbass, we were a Republic less than a century ago. So far Democrazy has done nothing good for us. ESAD

Re:Bad logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46967895)

How can we vote for you if there is no democracy?

Re:Bad logic (1)

flyneye (84093) | about 4 months ago | (#46970553)

How did we vote before we were a Democrazy? This was less than a century ago.

Secret 3GIntel Chip Gives Snoops Backdoor PCAccess (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46964965)

"Secret" 3G Intel Chip Gives Snoops Backdoor PC Access

vPro processors allow remote access even when computer is turned off

Paul Joseph Watson | | September 26, 2013 []

Intel Core vPro processors contain a "secret" 3G chip that allows remote disabling and backdoor access to any computer even when it is turned off.

Although the technology has actually been around for a while, the attendant privacy concerns are only just being aired. The "secret" 3G chip that Intel added to its processors in 2011 caused little consternation until the NSA spying issue exploded earlier this year as a result of Edward Snowden's revelations.

In a promotional video for the technology, Intel brags that the chips actually offer enhanced security because they don't require computers to be "powered on" and allow problems to be fixed remotely. The promo also highlights the ability for an administrator to shut down PCs remotely "even if the PC is not connected to the network," as well as the ability to bypass hard drive encryption.

"Intel actually embedded the 3G radio chip in order to enable its Anti Theft 3.0 technology. And since that technology is found on every Core i3/i5/i7 CPU after Sandy Bridge, that means a lot of CPUs, not just new vPro, might have a secret 3G connection nobody knew about until now,"reports Softpedia.

Jeff Marek, director of business client engineering for Intel, acknowledged that the company's Sandy Bridge" microprocessor, which was released in 2011, had "the ability to remotely kill and restore a lost or stolen PC via 3G."

"Core vPro processors contain a second physical processor embedded within the main processor which has it's own operating system embedded on the chip itself," writes Jim Stone. "As long as the power supply is available and and in working condition, it can be woken up by the Core vPro processor, which runs on the system's phantom power and is able to quietly turn individual hardware components on and access anything on them."

Although the technology is being promoted as a convenient way for IT experts to troubleshoot PC issues remotely, it also allows hackers or NSA snoops to view the entire contents of somebody's hard drive, even when the power is off and the computer is not connected to a wi-fi network.

It also allows third parties to remotely disable any computer via the "secret" 3G chip that is built into Intel's Sandy Bridge processors. Webcams could also be remotely accessed.

"This combination of hardware from Intel enables vPro access ports which operate independently of normal user operations," reports TG Daily. "These include out-of-band communications (communications that exist outside of the scope of anything the machine might be doing through an OS or hypervisor), monitoring and altering of incoming and outgoing network traffic. In short, it operates covertly and snoops and potentially manipulates data."

Not only does this represent a privacy nightmare, it also dramatically increases the risk of industrial espionage.

The ability for third parties to have remote 3G access to PCs would also allow unwanted content to be placed on somebody's hard drive, making it easier for intelligence agencies and corrupt law enforcement bodies to frame people.

"The bottom line? The Core vPro processor is the end of any pretend privacy," writes Stone. "If you think encryption, Norton, or anything else is going to ensure your privacy, including never hooking up to the web at all, think again. There is now more than just a ghost in the machine."

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CIA Head: We Will Spy On Americans Through [..] (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46964969)

CIA Head: We Will Spy On Americans Through Electrical Appliances

Global information surveillance grid being constructed; willing Americans embrace gadgets used to spy on them

Steve Watson | | March 16, 2012 []

"CIA director David Petraeus has said that the rise of new "smart" gadgets means that Americans are effectively bugging their own homes, saving US spy agencies a job when it identifies any "persons of interest".

Speaking at a summit for In-Q-Tel, the CIA's technology investment operation, Petraeus made the comments when discussing new technologies which aim to add processors and web connections to previously 'dumb' home appliances such as fridges, ovens and lighting systems.

Wired reports the details via its Danger Room Blog[1]:

"'Transformational' is an overused word, but I do believe it properly applies to these technologies," Petraeus enthused, "particularly to their effect on clandestine tradecraft."

"Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters - all connected to the next-generation internet using abundant, low-cost, and high-power computing," Petraeus said.

Microsoft Kinect Spy System & More (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46964977)


"So you just got the Kinect/Xbox360 gaming system and you're having fun, hanging out in your underwear, plopped down in your favorite lounge chair, and playing games with your buddies. Yeah, it's great to have a microphone and camera in your game system so you can "Kinect" to your pals while you play, but did you read that Terms of Service Agreement that came with your Kinect thingy? No? Here, let me point out an important part of that service agreement.

        If you accept the agreement, you "expressly authorize and consent to us accessing or disclosing information about you, including the content of your communications, in order to: (a) comply with the law or respond to lawful requests or legal process; (b) protect the rights or property of Microsoft, our partners, or our customers, including the enforcement of our agreements or policies governing your use of the Service; or (c) act on a good faith belief that such access or disclosure is necessary to protect the personal safety of Microsoft employees, customers, or the public."

Did you catch that? Here, let me print the important part in really big letters.

"If you accept the agreement, you expressly authorize and consent to us accessing or disclosing information about you, including the content of your communications⦠on a good faith belief that such access or disclosure is necessary to protect the personal safety of Microsoft employees, customers, or the public."

OK, is that clear enough for ya? When you use the Kinect system, you agree to allow Microsoft (and any branch of law enforcement or government they care to share information with) to use your Kinect system to spy on you. Maybe run that facial recognition software to check you out, listen to your conversations, and keep track of who you are communicating with.

I know this is probably old news to some, but I thought I would mention it because it pertains to almost all of these home game systems that are interactive. You have to remember, the camera and microphone contained in your game system have the ability to be hacked by anyone the game company gives that ability to, and that includes government snoops and law enforcement agents.

Hey, it's MICROSOFT. What did you expect?

And the same concerns apply to all interactive game systems. Just something to think about if you're having a "Naked Wii party" or doing something illegal while you're gaming with your buddies. Or maybe you say something suspicious and it triggers the DHS software to start tracking your every word. Hey, this is not paranoia. It's spelled out for you, right there in that Service Agreement. Read it! Here's one more part of the agreement you should be aware of.

        "You should not expect any level of privacy concerning your use of the live communication features (for example, voice chat, video and communications in live-hosted gameplay sessions) offered through the Service."

Did you catch it that time? YOU SHOULD NOT EXPECT ANY LEVEL OF PRIVACY concerning your voice chat and video features on your Kinect box."


"Listen up, you ignorant sheep. Your government is spending more money than ever to spy on its own citizens. That's YOU, my friend. And if you're one of these people who say, "Well I ain't ever done nothing wrong so why should I worry about it?' - you are dead wrong. Our civil liberties are being taken away faster than you can spit. The NSA is working away on its new "First Intelligence Community Comprehensive National Cyber-security Initiative Data Center' to keep track of every last one of us. This thing will be the size of 17 football stadiums. One million square feet, all to be filled with more technology and data storage than you could imagine. And 30,000 spy drones are set to be launched over America which can each stay aloft for about 28 hours, traveling 300 miles per hour. WHY? Why do we want these things in our skies?

The military is now taking a keen interest in the Microsoft Kinect Spy System, the fastest selling electronic device in history. Conveniently self-installed in over 18 million homes, this seemingly innocent game system, armed with facial recognition programming and real-time recording of both sound and video, will be used by our own government to spy on and record us in our own homes.

And it doesn't stop there. Other game systems such as Nintendo's WWII are also being turned into government-controlled spy systems. WHY?

That's the real question. WHY?!!! Why is our own government spending billions and billions of dollars to spy on its own people? To keep us safe? Do you really believe that?"

Microsoft's Kinect System is Watching You
Published on Apr 5, 2012 by TheAlexJonesChannel: []


Big Brother alert: Microsoft wants to know how many friends you've got in your living room

- []

By Mic Wright Gadgets Last updated: November 9th, 2012

- []

"One of Microsoft's latest patent applications[1] is a humdinger. It proposes to turn the Kinect camera into a snitch for movie studios, reporting back just how many friends you've got in your living room and what they're watching. Think that sounds alarmist? Here's what it actually says: "The users consuming the content on a display device are monitored so that if the number of user-views licensed is exceeded, remedial action may be taken." It's that blatant â" a system to spy on private viewing habits.

If put into practice, Microsoft's plan could mean that the film you're watching suddenly stops playing if it detects that you've got more people squashed on to the sofa than the licence allows. You'd then be prompted to buy a more expensive licence to keep watching. It's as if Big Brother had built 1984's Telescreen not to monitor the population but to ensure no one was pirating the Two Minutes Hate.

In all likelihood, Microsoft will struggle to actually apply this patent in the real world. While copyright holders would be delighted, customers would be turned off by such a draconian system. But that's what's interesting about this application and patent applications in general: they often reveal what companies would do if they could get away with it. The black and white drawings and blandly technical language can cover immoral, scary and downright evil ideas.

There was an even more striking example from Apple earlier this year[2]. In September, it was granted a patent for "Apparatus and methods for enforcement of policies upon a wireless device", i.e. a system allowing companies or governments to remotely disable mobile phones and tablets in a particular area.

While Apple mentions benign examples such as preventing phone calls from disturbing concerts or ensuring devices are switched off on planes, it also states: "Covert police or government operations may require complete "blackout" conditions." That's exactly the kind of feature certain governments would love to use to suppress pictures and videos. The patent Apple put its stamp on is a handy form of censorship regardless of whether it will ever apply it.

Last year, Google's chairman, Eric Schmidt, said that the company would hold off from creating a facial recognition service because it would be "crossing the creepy line". Still, Google has filed for and been granted extensive patents in the area and, as its Project Glass augmented reality goggles move forward, who knows when the "creepy line" will shift?"

[1] []

[2] []

(C) Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2012


"People are aware that Windows has bad security but they are underestimating the problem because they are thinking about third parties. What about security against Microsoft? Every non-free program is a âjust trust me program'. âTrust me, we're a big corporation. Big corporations would never mistreat anybody, would we?' Of course they would! They do all the time, that's what they are known for. So basically you mustn't trust a non free programme."

"There are three kinds: those that spy on the user, those that restrict the user, and back doors. Windows has all three. Microsoft can install software changes without asking permission. Flash Player has malicious features, as do most mobile phones."

"Digital handcuffs are the most common malicious features. They restrict what you can do with the data in your own computer. Apple certainly has the digital handcuffs that are the tightest in history. The i-things, well, people found two spy features and Apple says it removed them and there might be more""


Richard Stallman: 'Apple has tightest digital handcuffs in history'


Nobody Seems To Notice and Nobody Seems To Care - Government & Stealth Malware

In Response To Slashdot Article: Former Pentagon Analyst: China Has Backdoors To 80% of Telecoms 87

How many rootkits does the US[2] use officially or unofficially?

How much of the free but proprietary software in the US spies on you?

Which software would that be?

Visit any of the top freeware sites in the US, count the number of thousands or millions of downloads of free but proprietary software, much of it works, again on a proprietary Operating System, with files stored or in transit.

How many free but proprietary programs have you downloaded and scanned entire hard drives, flash drives, and other media? Do you realize you are giving these types of proprietary programs complete access to all of your computer's files on the basis of faith alone?

If you are an atheist, the comparison is that you believe in code you cannot see to detect and contain malware on the basis of faith! So you do believe in something invisible to you, don't you?

I'm now going to touch on a subject most anti-malware, commercial or free, developers will DELETE on most of their forums or mailing lists:

APT malware infecting and remaining in BIOS, on PCI and AGP devices, in firmware, your router (many routers are forced to place backdoors in their firmware for their government) your NIC, and many other devices.

Where are the commercial or free anti-malware organizations and individual's products which hash and compare in the cloud and scan for malware for these vectors? If you post on mailing lists or forums of most anti-malware organizations about this threat, one of the following actions will apply: your post will be deleted and/or moved to a hard to find or 'deleted/junk posts' forum section, someone or a team of individuals will mock you in various forms 'tin foil hat', 'conspiracy nut', and my favorite, 'where is the proof of these infections?' One only needs to search Google for these threats and they will open your malware world view to a much larger arena of malware on devices not scanned/supported by the scanners from these freeware sites. This point assumed you're using the proprietary Microsoft Windows OS. Now, let's move on to Linux.

The rootkit scanners for Linux are few and poor. If you're lucky, you'll know how to use chkrootkit (but you can use strings and other tools for analysis) and show the strings of binaries on your installation, but the results are dependent on your capability of deciphering the output and performing further analysis with various tools or in an environment such as Remnux Linux. None of these free scanners scan the earlier mentioned areas of your PC, either! Nor do they detect many of the hundreds of trojans and rootkits easily available on popular websites and the dark/deep web.

Compromised defenders of Linux will look down their nose at you (unless they are into reverse engineering malware/bad binaries, Google for this and Linux and begin a valuable education!) and respond with a similar tone, if they don't call you a noob or point to verifying/downloading packages in a signed repo/original/secure source or checking hashes, they will jump to conspiracy type labels, ignore you, lock and/or shuffle the thread, or otherwise lead you astray from learning how to examine bad binaries. The world of Linux is funny in this way, and I've been a part of it for many years. The majority of Linux users, like the Windows users, will go out of their way to lead you and say anything other than pointing you to information readily available on detailed binary file analysis.

Don't let them get you down, the information is plenty and out there, some from some well known publishers of Linux/Unix books. Search, learn, and share the information on detecting and picking through bad binaries. But this still will not touch the void of the APT malware described above which will survive any wipe of r/w media. I'm convinced, on both *nix and Windows, these pieces of APT malware are government in origin. Maybe not from the US, but most of the 'curious' malware I've come across in poisoned binaries, were written by someone with a good knowledge in English, some, I found, functioned similar to the now well known Flame malware. From my experience, either many forum/mailing list mods and malware developers/defenders are 'on the take', compromised themselves, and/or working for a government entity.

Search enough, and you'll arrive at some lone individuals who cry out their system is compromised and nothing in their attempts can shake it of some 'strange infection'. These posts receive the same behavior as I said above, but often they are lone posts which receive no answer at all, AT ALL! While other posts are quickly and kindly replied to and the 'strange infection' posts are left to age and end up in a lost pile of old threads.

If you're persistent, the usual challenge is to, "prove it or STFU" and if the thread is not attacked or locked/shuffled and you're lucky to reference some actual data, they will usually attack or ridicule you and further drive the discussion away from actual proof of APT infections.

The market is ripe for an ambitious company or individual to begin demanding companies and organizations who release firmware and design hardware to release signed and hashed packages and pour this information into the cloud, so everyone's BIOS is checked, all firmware on routers, NICs, and other devices are checked, and malware identified and knowledge reported and shared openly.

But even this will do nothing to stop backdoored firmware (often on commercial routers and other networked devices of real importance for government use - which again opens the possibility of hackers discovering these backdoors) people continue to use instead of refusing to buy hardware with proprietary firmware/software.

Many people will say, "the only safe computer is the one disconnected from any network, wireless, wired, LAN, internet, intranet" but I have seen and you can search yourself for and read about satellite, RF, temperature, TEMPEST (is it illegal in your part of the world to SHIELD your system against some of these APT attacks, especially TEMPEST? And no, it's not simply a CRT issue), power line and many other attacks which can and do strike computers which have no active network connection, some which have never had any network connection. Some individuals have complained they receive APT attacks throughout their disconnected systems and they are ridiculed and labeled as a nutter. The information exists, some people have gone so far as to scream from the rooftops online about it, but they are nutters who must have some serious problems and this technology with our systems could not be possible.

I believe most modern computer hardware is more powerful than many of us imagine, and a lot of these systems swept from above via satellite and other attacks. Some exploits take advantage of packet radio and some of your proprietary hardware. Some exploits piggyback and unless you really know what you're doing, and even then... you won't notice it.

Back to the Windows users, a lot of them will dismiss any strange activity to, "that's just Windows!" and ignore it or format again and again only to see the same APT infected activity continue. Using older versions of sysinternals, I've observed very bizarre behavior on a few non networked systems, a mysterious chat program running which doesn't exist on the system, all communication methods monitored (bluetooth, your hard/software modems, and more), disk mirroring software running[1], scans running on different but specific file types, command line versions of popular Windows freeware installed on the system rather than the use of the graphical component, and more.

[1] In one anonymous post on pastebin, claiming to be from an intel org, it blasted the group Anonymous, with a bunch of threats and information, including that their systems are all mirrored in some remote location anyway.

[2] Or other government, US used in this case due to the article source and speculation vs. China. This is not to defend China, which is one messed up hell hole on several levels and we all need to push for human rights and freedom for China's people. For other, freer countries, however, the concentration camps exist but you wouldn't notice them, they originate from media, mostly your TV, and you don't even know it. As George Carlin railed about "Our Owners", "nobody seems to notice and nobody seems to care".

[3] []

Try this yourself on a wide variety of internet forums and mailing lists, push for malware scanners to scan more than files, but firmware/BIOS. See what happens, I can guarantee it won't be pleasant, especially with APT cases.

So scan away, or blissfully ignore it, but we need more people like RMS[3] in the world. Such individuals tend to be eccentric but their words ring true and clear about electronics and freedom.

I believe we're mostly pwned, whether we would like to admit it or not, blind and pwned, yet fiercely holding to misinformation, often due to lack of self discovery and education, and "nobody seems to notice and nobody seems to care".

(Remotely Attacking Network Cards) []

(Persistent BIOS Infection) []

(BIOS --> Vbootkit code(from CD,PXE etc.) --> MBR --> NT Boot sector --> Windows Boot manager --> Windows Loader --> Vista Kernel) []

(The ROMOS project) []

Secure boot is Microsoft's attempt to maintain computer OS market share as their influences is being stripped away by the likes of Google (Android) and Apple (iOS). With HTML5 on the way, we will have WEB based applications that rival desktop versions, and run on ANY device. The OS is just a layer to get to where the real work gets done, information exchange.

AND the worst part is, secure boot doesn't actually fix the problem it pretends it solves. It can't. This is the whole DRM of DVD's and BluRay all over again. Look at how well that is working out.

DRM is broken by design."

"Richard Stallman has finally spoken out on this subject. He notes that 'if the user doesn't control the keys, then it's a kind of shackle, and that would be true no matter what system it is.' He says, 'Microsoft demands that ARM computers sold for Windows 8 be set up so that the user cannot change the keys; in other words, turn it into restricted boot.' Stallman adds that 'this is not a security feature. This is abuse of the users. I think it ought to be illegal.'""

I'm concerned about new rootkits which target PCI devices, such as the graphics card and the optical drives, also, BIOS. Where are the malware scanners which scan PCI devices and BIOS for mismatches? All firmware, BIOS and on PCI devices should be checksummed and saved to match with others in the cloud, and archived when the computer is first used, backing up signed firmware.

When do you recall seeing signed router firmware upgrades with any type of checksum to check against? Same for PCI devices and optical drives and BIOS.

Some have begun with BIOS security: []

Some BIOS has write protection in its configuration, a lot of newer computers don't.


CIA Head: We Will Spy On Americans Through Electrical Appliances
Global information surveillance grid being constructed; willing Americans embrace gadgets used to spy on them []


Comparing the unique pattern of the frequencies on an audio recording with a database that has been logging these changes for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year provides a digital watermark: a date and time stamp on the recording.
Philip Harrison, from JP French Associates, another forensic audio laboratory that has been logging the hum for several years, says: "Even if [the hum] is picked up at a very low level that you cannot hear, we can extract this information." It is a technique known as Electric Network Frequency (ENF) analysis, and it is helping forensic scientists to separate genuine, unedited recordings from those that have been tampered with."
- []
- []


"I'd worry about a Tempest virus that polled a personal computer's
CD-ROM drive to pulse the motor as a signalling method:

* Modern high-speed CD-ROM drive motors are both acoustically and
electrically noisy, giving you two attack methods for the price of one;

* Laptop computer users without CRTs, and the PC users that can afford
large LCD screens instead of CRTs, often have CD-ROM drives;

* Users are getting quite used to sitting patiently while their
CD-ROM drives grind away for no visibly obvious reason (but
that's quite enough about the widespread installs of software from
Microsoft CD-ROMs that prompted Kuhn's investigation in the first place.)" []


"I'd worry about a Tempest virus that polled a personal computer' personal computer' CD-ROM drive"

Yes and the hard drive and in some PC's the cooling fans as well are under CPU control.

You can also do it with PC's where the CPU does not control the fan, but the hardware has a simple thermal sensor to control it's speed. You do this by simply having a process that uses power expensive instructions in tight loops, thus raising the CPU temprature (it's one of the side channels I was considering a long time ago when thinking about how the temp inside the case changed various things including the CPU clock XTAL frequency).

The change in sound side channel is one of the first identified problems with Quantum Key Distribution. Basicaly the bod who came up with the idea whilst first testing the idea could tell the state of "Alice's polarizer" simply by the amount of noise it made...

The CD-ROM motor idea I'd heard befor but could not remember where till I followed your link.

Dr Lloyd Wood has worked with the UK's Surrey Uni, the European Space Agency and Americas NASA and one or two other places as part of his work for Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. He has been involved with CLEO (Cisco router in Low Earth Orbit) and other work on what's being called "The Space Internet".

Of interest is his work on Delay and Disruption Tolerant Networks (DTN). It's not been said "publicaly" as far as I'm aware but the work has aspects that are important to anonymity networks such as TOR.

You can read more on Dr Wood's DTN work etc at,

Lloyd Wood - Delay-Tolerant Networking work []

The UK occupies an odd position in the "Space Race" it is the only nation who having put a satellite into space then stopped further space rocket development (the Black Knight launch platform was considerably safer and more economic than the then US and CCCP systems). The UK has however continued in the Space Game and is perhaps the leading designers of payloads for scientific and industrial satellites (it probably is on military sats as well but nobody who knows for sure is telling ;-)

Clive Robinson
Schneier on Security: Information-Age Law Enforcement Techniques []


Schneier has covered it before: power line fluctuations (differences on the wire in keys pressed).

Thereâ(TM)s thermal attacks against cpus and temp, also:

ENF (google it)

A treat (ENF Collector in Java):

sourceforge dot net fwdslash projects fwdslash nfienfcollector

No single antimalware scanner exists which offers the ability to scan (mostly proprietary) firmware on AGP/PCI devices (sound cards, graphics cards, usb novelty devices excluding thumb drives), BIOS/CMOS.

If you boot into ultimate boot cd you can use an archane text interface to dump BIOS/CMOS and examine/checksum.

The real attacks which survive disk formats and wipes target your PCI devices and any firmware which may be altered/overwritten with something special. It is not enough to scan your hard drive(s) and thumb drives, the real dangers with teeth infect your hardware devices.

When is the last time you:

Audited your sound card for malware?
Audited your graphics card for malware?
Audited your network card for malware?

Google for:

* AGP and PCI rootkit(s)
* Network card rootkit(s)
* BIOS/CMOS rootkit(s)

Our modern PC hardware is capable of much more than many can imagine.

Do you:

        Know your routerâ(TM)s firmware may easily be replaced on a hackerâ(TM)s whim?
        Shield all cables against leakage and attacks
        Still use an old CRT monitor and beg for TEMPEST attacks?
        Use TEMPEST resistant fonts in all of your applications including your OS?
        Know whether or not your wired keyboard has keypresses encrypted as they pass to your PC from the keyboard?
        Use your PC on the grid and expose yourself to possible keypress attacks?
        Know your network card is VERY exploitable when plugged into the net and attacked by a hard core blackhat or any vicious geek with the know how?
        Sarch out informative papers on these subjects and educate your friends and family about these attacks?
        Contact antimalware companies and urge them to protect against many or all these attacks?

Do you trust your neighbors? Are they all really stupid when it comes to computing or is there a geek or two without a conscience looking to exploit these areas?

The overlooked threat are the potential civilian rogues stationed around you, especially in large apartment blocks who feed on unsecured wifi to do their dirty work.

With the recent news of Russian spies, whether or not this news was real or a psyop, educate yourself on the present threats which all antimalware scanners fail to protect against and remove any smug mask you may wear, be it Linux or OpenBSD, or the proprietary Windows and Mac OS you feel are properly secured and not vulnerable to any outside attacks because you either donâ(TM)t need an antivirus scanner (all are inept to serious attacks) or use one or several (many being proprietary mystery machines sending data to and from your machine for many reasons, one is to share your information with a group or set database to help aid in threats), the threats often come in mysterious ways.

Maybe the ancients had it right: stone tablets and their own unique language(s) rooted in symbolism.


"Disconnect your PC from the internet and donâ(TM)t add anything you didnâ(TM)t create yourself. It worked for the NOC list machine in Mission Impossible"

The room/structure was likely heavily shielded, whereas most civvies donâ(TM)t shield their house and computer rooms. There is more than meets the eye to modern hardware.


network card rootkits and trojans
pci rootkits
packet radio
xmit "fm fingerprinting" software
"specific emitter identification"

how many malware scanners scan bios/cmos and pci/agp cards for malware? zero, even the rootkit scanners. have you checksummed/dumped your bios/cmos and firmware for all your pci/agp devices and usb devices, esp vanity usb devices in and outside the realm of common usb devices (thumbdrives, external hdds, printers),

Unless your computer room is shielded properly, the computers may still be attacked and used, Iâ(TM)ve personally inspected computers with no network connection running mysterious code in the background which task manager for windows and the eqiv for *nix does not find, and this didnâ(TM)t find it all.

Inspect your windows boot partition in *nix with hexdump and look for proxy packages mentioned along with command line burning programs and other oddities. Computers are more vulnerable than most would expect.

You can bet all of the malware scanners today, unless they are developed by some lone indy coder in a remote country, employ whitelisting of certain malware and none of them scan HARDWARE devices apart from the common usb devices.

Your network cards, sound cards, cd/dvd drives, graphics cards, all are capable of carrying malware to survive disk formatting/wiping.

Boot from a Linux live cd and use hexdump to examine your windows (and *nix) boot sectors to potentially discover interesting modifications by an unknown party.

Re:Microsoft Kinect Spy System & More (3, Funny)

JockTroll (996521) | about 4 months ago | (#46965071)

TLDRBIPIOAWMAWI (Too Long Didn't Read But I Printed It Out And Wiped My Ass With It).

Re: Microsoft Kinect Spy System & More (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46965091)

You are fucking insane, even for /.

Re:Microsoft Kinect Spy System & More (1)

cffrost (885375) | about 4 months ago | (#46966137)

You don't seriously expect people to spend the day plowing through this without a summary, do you? Where's the abstract for this report, book, manifesto, or whatever it is?

Re:Microsoft Kinect Spy System & More (1)

Rick Zeman (15628) | about 4 months ago | (#46967777)

You don't seriously expect people to spend the day plowing through this without a summary, do you? Where's the abstract for this report, book, manifesto, or whatever it is?

The video game generation strikes again.

Memorable quotes for 2014 and beyond (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46964983)

Looker (1981) []

"John Reston: Television can control public opinion more effectively than armies of secret police, because television is entirely voluntary. The American government forces our children to attend school, but nobody forces them to watch T.V. Americans of all ages *submit* to television. Television is the American ideal. Persuasion without coercion. Nobody makes us watch. Who could have predicted that a *free* people would voluntarily spend one fifth of their lives sitting in front of a *box* with pictures? Fifteen years sitting in prison is punishment. But 15 years sitting in front of a television set is entertainment. And the average American now spends more than one and a half years of his life just watching television commercials. Fifty minutes, every day of his life, watching commercials. Now, that's power."


"The United States has it's own propaganda, but it's very effective because people don't realize that it's propaganda. And it's subtle, but it's actually a much stronger propaganda machine than the Nazis had but it's funded in a different way. With the Nazis it was funded by the government, but in the United States, it's funded by corporations and corporations they only want things to happen that will make people want to buy stuff. So whatever that is, then that is considered okay and good, but that doesn't necessarily mean it really serves people's thinking - it can stupify and make not very good things happen."
- Crispin Glover: []


"It's only logical to assume that conspiracies are everywhere, because that's what people do. They conspire. If you can't get the message, get the man." - Mel Gibson (from an interview)


"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." - William Casey, CIA Director


"The real reason for the official secrecy, in most instances, is not to keep the opposition (the CIA's euphemistic term for the enemy) from knowing what is going on; the enemy usually does know. The basic reason for governmental secrecy is to keep you, the American public, from knowing - for you, too, are considered the opposition, or enemy - so that you cannot interfere. When the public does not know what the government or the CIA is doing, it cannot voice its approval or disapproval of their actions. In fact, they can even lie to your about what they are doing or have done, and you will not know it. As for the second advantage, despite frequent suggestion that the CIA is a rogue elephant, the truth is that the agency functions at the direction of and in response to the office of the president. All of its major clandestine operations are carried out with the direct approval of or on direct orders from the White House. The CIA is a secret tool of the president - every president. And every president since Truman has lied to the American people in order to protect the agency. When lies have failed, it has been the duty of the CIA to take the blame for the president, thus protecting him. This is known in the business as "plausible denial." The CIA, functioning as a secret instrument of the U.S. government and the presidency, has long misused and abused history and continues to do so."
- Victor Marchetti, Propaganda and Disinformation: How the CIA Manufactures History


George Carlin:

"The real owners are the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians, they're an irrelevancy. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don't. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They've long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the statehouses, the city halls. They've got the judges in their back pockets. And they own all the big media companies, so that they control just about all of the news and information you hear. They've got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want; they want more for themselves and less for everybody else.

But I'll tell you what they don't want. They don't want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don't want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They're not interested in that. That doesn't help them. That's against their interests. They don't want people who are smart enough to sit around the kitchen table and figure out how badly they're getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fucking years ago.

You know what they want? Obedient workers people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork but just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, reduced benefits, the end of overtime and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it. And, now, they're coming for your Social Security. They want your fucking retirement money. They want it back, so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They'll get it. They'll get it all, sooner or later, because they own this fucking place. It's a big club, and you ain't in it. You and I are not in the big club.

This country is finished."


[1967] Jim Garrison Interview "In a very real and terrifying sense, our Government is the CIA and the Pentagon, with Congress reduced to a debating society. Of course, you can't spot this trend to fascism by casually looking around. You can't look for such familiar signs as the swastika, because they won't be there. We won't build Dachaus and Auschwitzes; the clever manipulation of the mass media is creating a concentration camp of the mind that promises to be far more effective in keeping the populace in line. We're not going to wake up one morning and suddenly find ourselves in gray uniforms goose-stepping off to work. But this isn't the test. The test is: What happens to the individual who dissents? In Nazi Germany, he was physically destroyed; here, the process is more subtle, but the end results can be the same. I've learned enough about the machinations of the CIA in the past year to know that this is no longer the dreamworld America I once believed in. The imperatives of the population explosion, which almost inevitably will lessen our belief in the sanctity of the individual human life, combined with the awesome power of the CIA and the defense establishment, seem destined to seal the fate of the America I knew as a child and bring us into a new Orwellian world where the citizen exists for the state and where raw power justifies any and every immoral act. I've always had a kind of knee-jerk trust in my Government's basic integrity, whatever political blunders it may make. But I've come to realize that in Washington, deceiving and manipulating the public are viewed by some as the natural prerogatives of office. Huey Long once said, "Fascism will come to America in the name of anti-fascism." I'm afraid, based on my own experience, that fascism will come to America in the name of national security."


"Everything we see has some hidden message. A lot of awful messages are coming in under the radar - subliminal consumer messages, all kinds of politically incorrect messages..." - Harold Ramis

That is also why (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46965359)

...they hate Putin. This man is kind of a patriot who sometimes cares about the average Russian, not just the Kleptocracy. Putin dared to lock up at least one of the most greedy Kleptocrats for a couple of years. The Kleoptocratic International hates Putin for this very badly.

Consequently, they will try to sow all the hatred they can against Putin into Anglosaxon (and other Pax Americana) brains. Thank god there is the internet and we can call out this shit.

@NSA, CIA: Question yourself whether you like the Kleptocrats or whether you like the government to care about the people. Discharging your duties properly means clamping down on the New York Kleptocracy and their friends. If you fail, well, have a replay of 1933 with Adolph Cromwell, a U.S. Army Corporal who turned himself into the Divine Leader of America.

Windows - they've got you by the balls! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46964987)

"People are aware that Windows has bad security but they are underestimating the problem because they are thinking about third parties. What about security against Microsoft? Every non-free program is a 'just trust me program'. 'Trust me, we're a big corporation. Big corporations would never mistreat anybody, would we?' Of course they would! They do all the time, that's what they are known for. So basically you mustn't trust a non free programme."

"There are three kinds: those that spy on the user, those that restrict the user, and back doors. Windows has all three. Microsoft can install software changes without asking permission. Flash Player has malicious features, as do most mobile phones."

"Digital handcuffs are the most common malicious features. They restrict what you can do with the data in your own computer. Apple certainly has the digital handcuffs that are the tightest in history. The i-things, well, people found two spy features and Apple says it removed them and there might be more""


Richard Stallman: 'Apple has tightest digital handcuffs in history'

Well, if it was easy to stop him (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 4 months ago | (#46965025)

Then maybe the whole thing is intentional. After all, the voters, in their conditioned helplessness, aren't going to elect anybody to stop it, so what "damage" is the NSA going to suffer? Smooth everything over with a little PR, and it's back to business as usual. In fact nothing has changed except increased chatter on the internet.

Re:Well, if it was easy to stop him (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46965047)

And now we have ukraine to bitch about. Go figure

Oversight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46965031)

Without transparency, we can't find their flaws. If you want the NSA to work robustly, and resist internal threats (misuse of their data, leaks etc), its going to have to be more transparent. You can't have oversight without transparency: We gotta at least know what program exist so we can question how their oversight works. Otherwise each internal team has a free for all.

Personally I'd rather have the whole thing fail, but not the way it has been failing. Unconstrained fragmented secret groups misusing data as they please and immune to laws is not the kind of failure I want...

Re:Oversight (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 4 months ago | (#46966735)

The whole idea of the NSA is deeply flawed. But, judging from how things are going with the human race, maybe entirely deserved.

The sidebar was the most interesting part... (4, Insightful)

loony (37622) | about 4 months ago | (#46965085)

I started reading but soon moved on to just skimming the article. It read like a very logical but basic security primer... Until I hit the sidebar. Wow, I've never seen a better laid out, yet brief, history lesson that got straight to the point. Our government needs to remember that its "For the People, by the People" not "For those people, by these people"


Re:The sidebar was the most interesting part... (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 4 months ago | (#46966769)

That is the old slogan. Today those in power have banded together against the people. It has been quite a while since any US government though it was "for the people".

Re:The sidebar was the most interesting part... (1)

ComputersKai (3499237) | about 4 months ago | (#46967745)

Well, the NSA can claim their security is "for the people", but not necessarily "by the people"

Re:The sidebar was the most interesting part... (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 4 months ago | (#46966811)

I started reading but soon moved on to just skimming the article.

So did I, but I didn't find the 1 fact that would be most relevant to this conversation: []

Officials said Mr. Snowden, who had an intimate understanding of the N.S.A.â(TM)s computer architecture, would have known that the Hawaii facility was behind other agency outposts in installing monitoring software.

According to a former government official who spoke recently with Gen. Keith B. Alexander, the N.S.A. director, the general said that at the time Mr. Snowden was downloading the documents, the spy agency was several months away from having systems in place to catch the activity.

The Hawaii network that Snowden was assigned to had not yet had its security upgraded as part of the fallout from Manning's massive leak.
Most, if not all, of the security measures mentioned in this book summary had already been implemented elsewhere and Snowden intentionally picked Hawaii because of this.

I hope the book goes into more detail, since it has been reported that the Snowden leaks have forced the NSA to consider further security measures beyond what they were already putting into place because of Manning.

Inevitable (3, Informative)

dbIII (701233) | about 4 months ago | (#46965099)

Personally I see using outside contractors such as Booz Allen Hamilton as the massive security breach.

Re:Inevitable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46965203)

can they get around teh constitution by using contractors?

"oh it wasn't us that did that, the contractor did it. we imposed a penalty on them according to the contract for doing that".

later in private: 'here is your bonus for the great work you've been doing! keep it up!"

Re:Inevitable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46969631)

At least you can fire contractors who screw up.

Re:Inevitable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47011479)

Contractors go through the same background checks government employee's do. The funny thing though? Office of Personnel Management hires contractors to do investigations as well. There have been plenty of whistle blowers both contractor and government employed.

Rename USA to North American Korea (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46965109)

Never in history North Korea and USA were so close. It is true love between regimes of two countries.
Anyone arriving in USA is terrified by the large number of security forces and STASI type lifestyle so much prevalent.

Kim Jong Un blesses USA

Re:Rename USA to North American Korea (1)

zedaroca (3630525) | about 4 months ago | (#46966761)

Except that North Korea is not disrespecting every other nation's laws and people. As a Latin American, I don't feel any threats from North Korea. My constitutional rights and my human rights (from the international agreement) are not being violated by North Korea, only by the US.

Re:Rename USA to North American Korea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46969661)

As a Latin American, I don't feel any threats from North Korea.

You're not within range - yet.

easy (4, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#46965139)

The easiest fix would be to stop violating our constitutional rights. Snowden would have never leaked anything had the NSA been acting within the bounds of the constitution. Violate the constitution and everyone working for you that is a patriot is bound by honor to thwart you. Righteous anger is a SOB.

Re:easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46965325)

The funny thing about the situation is Snowden is being accused of "treason" when he's a hero. The one's doing the mass spying -- in gross violation of the US constitution -- are the criminals.

That said, we shouldn't hold our breath for charges to be laid. The same people supposed upholding the law, are the same ones violating it.

Re:easy (1)

Sqr(twg) (2126054) | about 4 months ago | (#46965703)

This is especially true, since the security measures suggested by TFA are only designed to stop the lone rouge sysadmin. Even with all those measures in place, it would still be possible for two sysadmins working together to extract top secret documents.

Re:easy (1)

ZouPrime (460611) | about 4 months ago | (#46966189)

Well, maybe that's true for Snowden, but it's just him. In practice, disclosure of sensitive information happens whether "constitutional rights" are respected or not, and the security controls that can be used to secure this information don't change.

Re:easy (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#46966215)

Well, maybe that's true for Snowden, but it's just him. In practice, disclosure of sensitive information happens whether "constitutional rights" are respected or not, and the security controls that can be used to secure this information don't change.

Yes, but how many people work for the NSA and would commit treason for profit or evil?

Violate the constitution and now everyone that works there and cares about their country are against you as well. The point is, illegal acts raise the number of adversaries they need to deal with my orders of magnitude.

Re:easy (1)

ZouPrime (460611) | about 4 months ago | (#46966367)

The unauthorized disclosure of sensible US information has happened regularly in the 20th century. Act of spying are motivated differently depending of the individual. Interestingly enough, it's rarely a question of ideology.

Sure, illegal acts, or perceived as illegals, can motivate some people in doing what Snowden did. And yes, I guess stopping to do these acts will remove the incentive. But it doesn't mean that it's a solution for the actual security problem. And it certainly how the NSA will see it too.

Re:easy (1)

s.petry (762400) | about 4 months ago | (#46967011)

Considering that the US Government hid Operation Mockingbird and COINTELPRO for decades (and is still hiding information on those programs), many people see no choice but to leak when the situation seems dire. In these situations it's not the whistle blower that's to blame. Those are just 2 of thousands of examples.

Re:easy (1)

ZouPrime (460611) | about 4 months ago | (#46967117)

Well... sure... but how is this related to what I wrote?

Re:easy (1)

s.petry (762400) | about 4 months ago | (#46979789)

Sure, illegal acts, or perceived as illegals, can motivate some people in doing what Snowden did

I based my comment on that statement. Also read what whistle blowers themselves state, which is usually along the lines of "there was no choice because leadership is complicit"

More of a correction that it's not a matter of just being motivated by something illegal. It isalso a belief that the only way to make corrections is to be a whistle blower.

Re:easy (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 4 months ago | (#46966809)

Are you kidding? The very purpose of government is to oppress its population and tell them everything is "fine" as long as they are docile little sheep. You thing the Constitution has any value today? Think again.

Permanent solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46965281)

"Breach" all the secrets. Keep none. We have the deterrent of enough nukes to destroy anything and anyone. We have the fact that any large-scale conflict would only harm the aggressor in trade alone than they could hope to gain.

The net "damage" to U.S. citizens, worst-case, would be vastly less than the economic and political damage the NSA has itself caused, and continues to cause, to the citizens.

"National security" nowadays just means "security of the national security apparatus", and has little to do with security of the nation.

Editors! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46965317)

Get thy to the editing!

go4t (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46965337)

FrreBSD at about 80 departures of

The Absolutist King Is Back (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46965339)

...and his name is Barak Obama.

His predecessor was George W. Bush and his sucker abolutist King-lets are David Cameron, Angela Merkel and all the other sucker kinglets of Pax Americana.

They all give a shit about "unreasonable search and seizuire" - spitting on their respective national constitutions or constitutional scriptures.

My 2 cents (1)

Jim Sadler (3430529) | about 4 months ago | (#46965371)

I think that the degree of spying by the US government and the availability of computers and the net are locked hip to hip. Computers and somewhat open communication are powerful tools and the US government equates paranoia with responsibility.

Securing that global database (2)

AHuxley (892839) | about 4 months ago | (#46965455)

1. Take control of your own networks via your own staff again.
No contractors, no private sector, no ex gov staff moving around, people without exhaustive gov staff real world full family tree, education, friends interviewed background results.
2. Drive the private sector contractors out of the gov networks. Fancy 3rd party network wide security software will not stop a trusted system admin, it will just give the security software bosses a nice gov contract bonus.
3. Go back to finding all your staff from top universities after watching them in the wild for a few years. When ready, offer them a great job, for life with academic freedoms and an above great wage. Make sure they feel invited in.
a) Interview them in person using gov staff only staff.
b) If accepted as useful to the gov:
Interview their extended family in person using only gov staff. Interview their recent academic staff in person using gov staff. Drive out to their local community and find friends, cops, ex cops, sealed court records, all teachers at every stage of schooling.... in person using gov only staff.
Look at generations of book lists, magazines, newspapers, payments, gambling, faith with links to other nations, cults with links to other nations, holidays, charities, political causes, the probability of placing another nation/faith/cash/cult interests above all gov security levels.
Build up a real world life story with real world contact with every close person or event and keep looking.
Note: a database search is not a real world interview. A database search by a 3rd party private sector security cleared person is not a real world interview.
Some data on a random gov computer about past good work been seen by a 3rd party private sector security cleared person is not a real world interview.
Keep interviewing, testing, profiling your new staff using trusted gov staff - in house staff, not a 3rd party private sector security cleared person invited in with a new 'system' to rent.
4. The file systems need to be kept air gapped and back to best practice compartmentalization. No new 3rd party cloud, no outside big brand private sector 'helpers' beyond installs.
5.. Dont trust any paperwork from any other sector of the gov/private sector on an individual. If they have great paperwork and want to move jobs, something interesting might be missing from that great 'story'.
6. Stop political suggestions over 'sharing' the cloud and other ways into what should be a sealed gov network.
Some better ways to alter public perception:
Hint at a limited hangout, or partial hangout, the idea that the material was baited provides endless speculation and academic busy work on web 2.0 and beyond.
Drop hints via trusted cutouts to the 'alternative media' that will take years to work out.
A sockpuppet is not a useful cutout.
The hardware and software, junk encryption was for domestic use by 'others' in the wider US legal system. The results of a splitter, tame corporate/academic decryption ended up with any number of diverse ongoing very legal domestic criminal probes is a great talking point.
Hint at a political culture for weakening once strong gov only security clearance levels.
8. Talk the the UK about decades of tell all books, newspapers, interviews and 'documents' ie the magical "why" nothing ever got much traction beyond academic history books and obscure university level history papers.
9.. As all this is now in the open and telco immunity is/was in place move forward with a domestic locked box for all telco metadata. Move in front of "damaging breach" to a post telco immunity budget and gov security expansion needs.

Versus -- increasing Cognitive Diversity... (1)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | about 4 months ago | (#46976169)

My essay: []
"This essay discusses how the USA's security clearance process (mainly related to ensuring secrecy) may have a counter-productive negative effect on the USA's national security by reducing "cognitive diversity" among security professionals."

An example I have there:
Let us contrast two candidates with different very backgrounds and ask which one would get a security clearance. Which of the two would be hired to create the social and technical systems to define US National Security?

The first candidate is a woman performance artist currently couchsurfing near New York City's Greenwich Village. She has a messed up credit history, suffers from depression, has been on psychological medication, had a terrible childhood, and has had multiple friendships and has slept with people from a variety of foreign nations who she met in NYC. She even spent a few months living in the Middle East protesting various US-related policies. She was arrested once for smoking marijuana in public outside a nightclub. She is outraged by domestic violations of privacy rights in the USA and would never submit to a security clearance screening involving lots of prying questions (if only to protect her friends). Still, she has "been there" and understands what it means to be poor and also understands what it means to see the world from multiple points of view (including the downtrodden). To her, the invasion of Iraq was an obviously stupid thing to do and she was arrested for protesting before the invasion, too. Well, it does not take much imagination to assume she would be denied a security clearance, not that she would probably ever consider a job that requires applying for one.

The second candidate is a woman with a PhD in mathematics and a master's and bachelors degree in public policy from an Ivy League university (paid for by her professional parents). She has never known a day of hunger or homelessness in her life, has excellent credit, is very emotionally stable in the past (although the limits of that have never really been tested), has never felt a need to escape from her life using drugs, and has married a reliable accountant (himself a third generation American). She thinks that a job working at the Pentagon is worth just about any sacrifice to preserve a superior US way of life (plus, she feels she and her family and friends have nothing to hide). Well, it would seem there is probably a good chance such a person would get a security clearance, even if her polygraph readings jumped when she confessed that she has in the past purchased "fair trade" coffee that came from South America and also drives a Toyota Prius that her parents gave her as a birthday present last year.

Ten years go by and our successful second candidate has risen to a position where she is assisting in using highly mathematical Operations Research to define US defense policy and weapons systems priorities to protect against those she sincerely feels "hate us because we are free". Do you feel safer as a result? Do you really think she could do as effective a job in thinking about security threats and opportunities relative to general US interests as the other woman who would never qualify for a security clearance?

As for our first candidate, perhaps she becomes a Volvo-driving soccer mom with three kids in Portland, Oregon, a successful author, and married to an organic grocery store manager, to give her story a reasonably happy ending in mainstream terms? :-)

But here is a deep question implicitly raised by Scott Page's writings. Do you think the two women, working together, along with others, might be able to do a better job at improving US national security out of their diversity of skills and experiences than either one working alone? What sort of social environment or workplace setting would it take to make that possible?

Re:Versus -- increasing Cognitive Diversity... (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 4 months ago | (#46976633)

Both exhibit what any intelligence service would desire. The ability to work in the community facing interesting events, languages, rapidly changing slang, people, cultures, locations and living with habits that are not without constant risk.
They are the classic butterfly collectors or anthropologist with deep cover in distant lands as used over generations.
You have very smart people with the ability to hide their needs. One event may have pulled them very close to the security/mil sector.
What happens when the security/mil sector moves on from their only reason for joining? New people, other skills, new languages. How does that person react, cope, who can they talk to?
Thats always the problem when skilling up fast with the poor or rich, people with needed skills. What are you inviting in long term and how will they react when their cause is not getting instant, top priority?
ie historically a vast number of new people with one event skills does not end well on average. Other groups, countries, faiths, cults start to look and befriend offering the positive feeling about the past.
You have a person who is trusted, has moved up, is sneaky and has new friends... too many people with too many rushed clearances gets hard to track and then confront..

Bob Toxen is a fascist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46965487)

Bob Toxen is a fascist who has his fist up the ass of the NSA.

"The vast majority of NSA employees and contractors are eminently talented law-abiding dedicated patriots."

No, they are fascists, like Bob, who got a hard one when they read 1984 and are now living the dream. They are the enemy of the people, and the enablers of our overlords. They are guilty.

Re:Bob Toxen is a fascist (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 4 months ago | (#46966877)

And they are not very talented either. I now personally that they have to outsource critical stuff because they just cannot hack it themselves...

Re:Bob Toxen is a fascist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46970655)

No, they are fascists, like Bob, who got a hard one when they read 1984 and are now living the dream.

Bullshit. I loathe the fact that I live in what has passed the tipping point and is now inexorably sliding towards being a police state, but don't blame the messenger. Security through obscurity isn't secure. NSA's got every right to secure themselves against internal and external threats as private businesses and private individuals do. Most of his suggestions are common sense, something of which the government is in short supply.

Discussing how to help the guilty (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46965721)

Discussing how to better secure systems against people like Snowden is like discussing how to ensure a thief or a murderer succeeds.

Why have secrets? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46966983)

We need to change our policy on secrets - nothing is secret past a year. The year is enough for tactical security, but not enough to hide embarrassments. Then the state will have to be answerable to its bosses - the citizens.

What the author seems to be missing.... (2)

Rick Zeman (15628) | about 4 months ago | (#46967475) somewhere along the line SOMEONE has to be trusted. That secure program that transfers files? How do you know it doesn't have a back door/hidden features? You audit that source you trust the auditor? How do you know he's not in collusion with the programmer? Hmm, better get someone or someones to audit them. And so on....
Technical restrictions are good, but they're not the be-all. Technically, the best locked down systems aren't usable (any geezers here remember C2 [orange book] Windows NT 4 systems? Very secure (especially for NT in the day)...and wholly unusable).

His comments about securing ssh are just common sense and best practices (for once they coincide). As he pointed out, metal detectors would have caught the egress of the thumb drives. Just as locks on reinforced cockpit doors would have prevented 9/11, sometimes the low-tech scalable solution is the best solution.

It's "renowned" not "renown" (1)

wytcld (179112) | about 4 months ago | (#46967739)

If you are of renown, you are renowned. You'd think folks sensitive to the exacting demands of various languages would be more respectful of English. Sheesh.

Doing anything to an American (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46968999)

With law enforcement intent ,should get you life in prison if there is no probable cause.

NSA say if you're "clean", you don't need to worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46972427)

... so, why they're worried about people investigating them?

"Most damaging". Yeah. Right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46981285)

More damaging than that committed by the Rosenbergs [] , which only taught the Soviets how to make nuclear weapons and started the nuke-fueled Cold War.

Hyperbole much?

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